Monday, January 23, 2012

Streetcar Meeting

ART of WAR Concept: Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both benefit and harm. As they consider benefit, their work can expand; as they consider harm, their troubles can be resolved.

The Federal Transit Administration and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) are hosting the fourth public meeting for the Anacostia Streetcar Extension Environmental Assessment and Historic Preservation Study, on Thursday, January 26, 2012, 6:30 pm – 8 pm, at Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Place, SE.

The study team will provide an update on the status of the route alternatives that are being evaluated to create a transit connection between the Anacostia Metrorail Station and the 11th Street Bridge.

The remaining proposed route alternatives that were presented at the last public meeting held for this study have undergone further analysis based on overall study goals and objectives, community input and technical evaluation. DDOT is seeking public input on the remaining four alternatives to identify the preferred route alternative for this study.

The study team will also share information about: 1) the upcoming milestones that are planned for this study; 2) the opportunities that will be made available to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Document that will be prepared for this study; and 3) the next steps that will follow the conclusion of this study.

I am happy that the streetcar conversation has started up again. If this project moves forward, I hope DDOT will consider using a model of the streetcar that will complement the historic character of the surrounding neighborhoods and not that ”big red bus” they spent all the money on years ago. I am a firm believer that part of the long-term economic vitality of the downtown Anacostia area is the appreciation of historic preservation. We can have brand new streetcars but make them fit within context of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Also, one of the biggest problems that occurred in the past was DDOT never demonstrated to area residents that streetcars could work in Ward 8 -- that it is possible for a streetcar to share MLK Ave and Good Hope Rd with the existing traffic. Right now all we can see are backed-up streets during rush hour and it makes us wonder if a streetcar will add to the traffic headache. The opening of the new 11th Street Bridge will hopefully reduce the amount of cut-through traffic during peak hours. If we are able to see the benefits of the new bridge maybe we can get more residents' support.

Below are the four proposed streetcar routes. I prefer Options #1-3 because it encompasses both the neighborhood and commercial corridor of MLK Ave. It also addresses the concern some of the business owners have about a streetcar interrupting supply delivery.

Option #1: - Travels through the heart of the community
- Major activity centers are connected along Good Hope and MLK Ave
- Lessens traffic/parking impacts
- May have adverse effects in residential areas

Option #2: Travels through the heart of the community
- Major MLK Ave activity centers are connected
- Incorporates undeveloped land west of MLK Ave (future development)
- May have adverse impact on traffic

Option #3: Travels through the heart of the community
- Major MLK Ave activity centers connected
- Incorporates undeveloped land west of MLK Ave (future development)

Option #4: The Streetcar will run along the CSX railroad track - my least favorite option
because it does not touch the existing commercial corridor of MLK Ave or the neighborhoods.
But this optionavoids the traffic concerns

 Here is the "big red bus" streetcar I spoke about earlier. The District spent nearly $10 million
on three cars so it is more likely we will see this model first.

Here is a pic of the Streetcars used in San Francisco. It adds to
the charm of the city.

No comments:

Post a Comment